Green Bay Packers tight end Jared Cook, the team's biggest offseason acquisition this year, underwent foot surgery this week and will miss the rest of the offseason program, multiple sources told ESPN.
The Packers hope that Cook will be back for training camp next month. The surgery was described as "preventative" and something that both Cook and the team wanted to take care of now so that it didn't linger into the regular season.
Cook could surprise this year since it's the first season that he's playing with an elite passer, but offseason foot surgery won't help him build chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. If he's not ready by training camp, he'll be a dicey pick on draft day.
Two of Anderson's best runs Wednesday came late in practice. On the first one, Anderson read the blocking and exploded to daylight created by Max Garcia and Michael Schofield on the left side.
Seven snaps later, Anderson took a shotgun handoff from Siemian and saw a seam created by Garcia and James Ferentz. He burst through it for what would have been a substantial gain in game conditions.
Anderson wasn’t fully healthy heading into the season and struggled at the onset, averaging just 2.69 YPC on 11.4 rushing attempts through the first six weeks of the season. He turned it around in a big way after the Week 7 bye, however, racking up an average of 64.5 yards on 11.6 carries (5.57 YPC) and 0.58 TD over his final 12 games, including the playoffs. Those are mid-level RB1 numbers in standard formats and low-end RB1 numbers in PPR. Moreover, the Broncos committed to Anderson down the stretch, feeding him 15.6 carries over the final five games. In that span, he averaged 13.7 fantasy points in standard (and 15.9 FP in PPR). Those averages would have been good enough to finish #3 in both formats. Even though he finished strong, playoff numbers don’t count for fantasy, so the fact remains that Anderson burned his owners in 2015. As a result, his ADP is likely to remain depressed heading into 2016 fantasy drafts.
“He’s not missed a day and he’s running extra after practice,” Fisher said. “He looked pretty good running in a straight line a year ago at this time. He’s doing everything [now], to the point where you almost [say], ‘OK, let’s back down a little bit.’ He’s had an impressive offseason.”
“It was just my first real offseason,” Gurley said. “So being able to take some time off, and being able to rest, and then just getting back to work — and working hard to just try to make sure I have a great year this year. I’m eating right, and making sure I’m taking care of my body and doing all the right lifts.”
As for what Gurley’s looking to improve upon in Year 2, he mentioned becoming a better receiver.
“Definitely, routes and catching,” Gurley said. “I’ve got to get more catches this year, stay healthy and then run the ball. Get my line right and make sure we start off strong and finish strong. But most definitely I want to work on catching.”
Gurley averaged 91.6 rushing yards in his final 12 games, which is a 16-game pace of 1,465 yards. But he only caught 21 passes for 188 yards, which serves to limit his value in PPR formats. If his offseason work as a receiver pays off during the season, that would change.
Barnidge had the rare age-30 breakout season, posting 79 catches for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns on 125 targets. There are a lot of changes in Cleveland this year with a new head coach/offense and a new quarterback (Robert Griffin III), and given Barnidge's short fantasy resume, he's not a safe pick. But Tyler Eifert played well under Hue Jackson, so it's likely that Barnidge will be an integral part of the passing attack, especially considering the sorry state of the Cleveland receiving corps.
All we've heard to this point is that the Bills were of the belief that Watkins would be ready by the start of the regular season, without any mention of training camp or the preseason. While the wide receiver admitted that he's hopeful to get back by training camp -- and by saying that, he's admitting there's at least a chance of that happening -- he knows he's in for a summer where he can't push the issue.
"This is an injury where you have to be really careful," Watkins said Wednesday. "The only thing that I can do is listen to the staff and take it slow, and just, really protect myself, and they’re going to protect me also. We’re just going to take the course with the injury. Nobody knows what timetable, what or when I’ll be back."
Bills head coach Rex Ryan met with the media after Watkins updated his injury, and was asked about the possibility a return in the summer in the lead up to the regular season.
"I think all I know is that Sammy won’t miss time in the regular season," Ryan said in a familiar refrain. "But when he comes back during training camp? Nobody has given us a specific time, it’s just that we’re extremely confident that he’ll be ready to roll when the season starts."
The Bills keep saying that he'll be ready by Week 1, but there's enough smoke here to be worried. However, with the way he finished the season -- 5.4-100-0.78 over the final nine games -- he has WR1 potential in 2016 provided he can stay healthy.
Melvin Gordon took part in several individual and team drills. It was a busy day for the running back who had microfracture knee surgery January 5.
Gordon isn't scheduled to be at 100 percent at this stage of the offseason. And, he's not.
Gordon is coming off of a disappointing rookie season and microfracture surgery. We'd rather have Danny Woodhead in this backfield, though the team isn't going to give up on Gordon.
Keenan Allen got open fast and snatched passes, seven months after a lacerated kidney ended his season. If health allows, the 24-year-old looks on the verge of commanding a huge contract.
Allen racked up 67 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns in eight games, so he was on pace for a 134-1550-8 season prior to lacerating his kidney. At the halfway mark, he was the #7 receiver in standard formats and #4 in PPR. He garnered 11.1 targets per game, but that number could decline a bit since Antonio Gates sat out four of those games. However, Allen saw 30 targets in three games with Gates, and in the third game (five targets), he only played 60% of the snaps due to the injured kidney. Given his usage, the fourth-year receiver a threat to finish as a WR1 in 2016.
A year ago, Texans wide receiver Jaelen Strong was a sluggish rookie. He was noticeably overweight, tipping the scales at nearly 230 pounds as if he was unintentionally bulking up for a move to tight end.
Strong chalked up the weight gain to the travel and lost workout time associated with the predraft circuit. He responded by changing his diet and increasing his cardio workouts to get down from 6-2, 230 pounds to a lean 197 pounds.
Strong has been one of the more impressive players at the Texans' organized team activities, catching a series of passes in traffic for first downs.
"I just said to him today how far he's come," O'Brien said Tuesday. "He's a guy that a year ago today, I was concerned about him from a conditioning standpoint. I just didn't know what type of condition he was in. It wasn't very good. He really at some point in time before training camp, he came back and passed the conditioning test and really took off after that.
"He contributed in some games last year. He had a really good offseason. He's in really good shape. He's playing well. Hopefully it continues. He's a guy that we're definitely counting on."
And Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has noticed a seriousness of purpose from Strong even during an offseason where he was arrested for possession of marijuana in February in Arizona.
When retweeting a link to this story, Texans beat writer Stephanie Stradley added, "No hype. Looks good." The Texans are looking for a starter opposite DeAndre Hopkins and Strong is competing with veteran Cecil Shorts and rookie Will Fuller for the job. He may face punishment from the NFL for his marijuana arrest, but the weight loss should help his speed and quickness.
X-rays were negative, so this is probably nothing major.
It won’t be easy, but it will be on quarterback Joe Flacco and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman to get everyone involved. However they do it, Aiken deserves a prominent role.
It's difficult to project the Baltimore receiving corps. Steve L Smith seems to be the WR1 if healthy, but he's 37 years old and coming off of a season-ending injury. Breshad Perriman was a 1st round pick and the team signed Mike Wallace in the offseason. Aiken was the most productive receiver in 2015 and is certainly the best bet to replace Smith if he were to miss any time.
I really don’t understand fans’ eagerness to push Pierre Garcon out the door. He has done nothing but produce since he signed with Washington four offseasons ago. Whenever given the opportunity, Garcon makes something happen. He’s not used on a lot of deep routes, so he doesn’t often get to show off his speed, but he has no problem getting open on short or intermediate routes either. Last season, he recorded 72 catches on 110 targets. That means he caught 65 percent of the passes that came his way (second-highest clip behind Jordan Reed), and according to sportingcharts.com, Garcon had only one dropped pass in 2015. He averaged a solid 10.8 yards per catch and recorded six touchdown receptions, his most since joining Washington. He makes tough catches in traffic and brings a toughness to the position. Why get rid of that for an unproven rookie? Just because Doctson has great size and athleticism doesn’t mean he’s ready to step in as a starter. And even if Doctson does come in and light it up, given the lack of dependability from Jackson last season as he battled various nagging injuries (and his lack of versatility – he’s really not a threat unless running the deep route), it’s smart to have another veteran to turn to.
So, having said all that, no. I don’t see Doctson replacing Garcon. There could be plenty of times where they’re on the field together, or times when Garcon is on, and Doctson is off, or Doctson is on, and Garcon is off. There’s nothing wrong with having multiple threats.
Garcon finished as the #31 WR in PPR formats and should continue to play starter's snaps for the Redskins. Doctson is a threat to his targets and playing time, which is why Garcon is the 71st receiver off the board in early MFL10s. He appears to be a great value at that point in the draft, especially in PPR formats.
"That is always the million dollar problem — you can have a lot of good players but not everybody is not necessarily willing to accept where they fit into the team aspect of offense," Olsen said. "But Kelvin is the rare guy who can be a No. 1 talent, but still understands how he fits into the big picture. Anytime you can more add guys like that to a team, you can't help but improve."
Benjamin has no pretenses about returning to be the team's dominant No. 1 receiver.
"Hey, I just want to come in and be a part of it," Benjamin said Tuesday at OTAs.
Nelson Agholor was active. The Eagles (desperately?) need him to elevate his play in his sophomore season. They would love for Agholor to develop into a home run hitter, but I’m not sure that he’s a receiver who can consistently take the lid off a secondary. But he has looked smoother running a variety of other routes. He caught an early seam pass from Carson Wentz, a post in the middle of a zone from Sam Bradford and, in perhaps his best moment, caught a comeback throw after he had turned cornerback Eric Rowe around. If Agholor can’t be a consistent deep threat, the Eagles might need to turn to free-agent addition Chris Givens during the season.
Agholor was a 5th round fantasy pick, and failed miserably to live up to that billing. The Eagles' offense is going to run at a much slower pace this year under new HC Doug Pederson, so it's an offense that will have difficulty supporting more than Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz as bona fide fantasy starters.
Falcons RB Tevin Coleman got off to a promising start before suffering fractured ribs in the second game of the season. While out, Devonta Freeman took over the position and turned in a Pro Bowl campaign with 1,634 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns.
Despite Freeman’s success, the Falcons still have high hopes for Coleman, who was electrifying in the open field.
“I love it when a guy is challenged and comes back on a mission, and that’s certainly been the case with him,” Quinn said. “He’s fit. He’s strong. He’s been catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s a man here with something to prove and he’s certainly off to that start.”
Coleman believes there’s room for him and Freeman in the rushing attack.
“Oh yeah, definitely I think people under estimate it,” Coleman said. “Free (received) most of the playing time last year because I was hurt. They don’t even know what’s coming. It will be me and Free out there killing it.”
All this talk about Coleman has us a little worried about Freeman's rushing workload. His role in the passing game should be fairly safe, giving him significantly more value in PPR formats than in standard leagues. Coleman's 11th round ADP makes him a nice attrition/injury play in the later rounds. He'd blow up if anything happened to Freeman.
Nelson, a fifth-round draft pick in 2015, has impressed in the organized team practices this month. That continued Tuesday with a couple of fine over-the-shoulder grabs in coverage, plays which displayed Nelson's hands and speed.
Coach Bruce Arians sees Nelson's confidence growing with each workout.
"He has a very unique skill in tracking the ball that the great ones have when the ball's coming over your opposite shoulder," Arians said. "When you have a little fast guy that can do that, you have a special one.
"Every day, he's making a big play or two," Arians added. "Getting a little bit stronger. He might be a buck-61 right now. We're going to try to get 4 more pounds on him."